Milwaukee, WI (SportsNetwork.com) - Back in the postseason for the ninth straight year, the BYU Cougars try their hand against the Oregon Ducks during second-round action in the West Regional of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
The 10th-seeded Cougars, under the direction of head coach Dave Rose, are into the NCAA Tournament for the seventh time in the last eight years after picking up an at-large bid to the field. Members of the West Coast Conference, the Cougars took out both Loyola Marymount (85-74) and San Francisco (79-77 in overtime) during the conference tournament before being defeated by Gonzaga last week, 75-64. The loss to the Bulldogs snapped a six-game win streak for BYU.
As for the seventh-seeded Ducks, led by Dana Altman, they picked up one win in the Pac-12 Conference Tournament last week, defeating rival Oregon State in the first round of the event, 88-74. However, a day later Oregon was sent packing by eventual champion UCLA after suffering an 82-63 loss at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
The Ducks, winners of the very first NCAA Tournament back in 1939, are appearing in the event in back-to-back years for just the third time in school history. Last season, Oregon made it to the Sweet 16 before bowing out.
While the Ducks have a title to their name and a record of 14-10 in the event overall, BYU is appearing in the tourney for the 28th time, but has a mark of only 15-30 to show for its efforts. Two years ago, the Cougars registered the biggest comeback in NCAA Tournament history as they rebounded from a 25-point first-half deficit to down Iona in a 78-72 final.
In terms of the all-time series between these two programs, Oregon is ahead by a count of 13-9, thanks in part to a wild shootout earlier this season at Matthew Knight Arena where the Ducks captured a 100-96 overtime verdict.
The winner this time around will head to the next round to face the survivor of the American/Wisconsin battle.
The Cougars ended up with several players earning all-conference recognition, but one of those (Kyle Collinsworth, All-WCC First-Team) will not be available to the squad after undergoing knee surgery just days ago. Collinsworth was second on the team in scoring (14.0 ppg) and tops on the glass with 8.1 rpg, not to mention the leading passer for the group as well with 156 assists. Obviously, the loss of Collinsworth will be difficult to overcome, but don't think for a moment that Tyler Haws and his teammates are simply going to roll over in this contest.
Haws was not only a member of the All-WCC First Team as well, he was named the conference player of the year after placing among the nation's best with 23.4 ppg. A player who is not afraid to force the action and play physical in the paint, Haws traveled to the free-throw line 249 times and knocked down 88.0 percent of his chances as the team outscored the competition by 161 at the charity stripe over the course of 34 games. Matt Carlino (13.7 ppg, 146 assists) is back in the starting lineup, even though he is shooting only 39.0 percent from the floor for a team that is generating a hefty 84.2 ppg.
The last four seasons have been rather special for the Ducks as they've amassed 96 wins over that span, setting a new school record and beating the old mark of 94 set by the group that captured the 1939 title. Helping to push the program to 23 wins in 32 chances this season, Joseph Young was named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team after leading the squad in scoring with 18.6 ppg. Young has been sensational out on the perimeter with 41.6 percent accuracy and a team-high 72 3-pointers, helping Oregon make good on a solid 39.2 percent on the outside.
Mike Moser, formerly of the UNLV Runnin' Rebels and before that UCLA, was an Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 selection as he started every game for his new team and closed out the regular season with four straight double-doubles. In addition to pacing the team on the glass with 8.0 rpg, Moser also pitched in with 13.5 ppg, just ahead of Jason Calliste (12.4 ppg) who was deadly out on the perimeter with 50.8 percent accuracy on 124 3-point tries.